Power To Be uses a Theory Of Change framework as an evaluation tool that looks at the intricacies of people and how they change behaviourally, physically, and socially. Our program theory of change is: “Power To Be’s participants’ sense of self and community is positively increased by removing barriers to access nature-based programs”. To achieve this change, our programming approach is guided by 8 outcomes to support growth and impact in our participants.

The Inclusion Understanding outcome of our Theory of Change has many layers to it as it aims to promote acceptance, understanding, and appreciation for diversity, culture, and abilities of our community. This is both for the individual’s sense of self and of those around them.

In our programs we take an ability centered approach – focusing on the potential of the individuals we work with and work through those personal barriers to access. As one participant  described, Power To Be helps people feel accepted and supports changing their mindset from “Can I do it” to “How can I do it”. Through the diversity of our participants, staff and volunteers we expand perspectives. Through curriculum design we strive to learn about the history and significance of the places we explore, and honour the cultures and communities connected to the traditional lands and waterways. We promote respect and curiosity in all activities that we do!

Beyond our programs, Power To Be strives to perpetuate our sphere of influence by working with community partners to share our philosophy and approaches to inclusion. We share our experience and approach around reducing barriers and some key concepts to create an experience that is ability focused and adaptable. We see this in line with how we build impact collectively. We also invite other organizations to share their knowledge in conjunction with us to offer a wider breath of experience and perspective relating to inclusion. In the past month we have been excited to work on three different events and workshops to create a dialogue around ways these organizations can make spaces more accessible and welcoming.

For three years we have been working with Parks Canada and BC Parks on different initiatives to broaden their inclusive practices within the park sector. In order to expand the scope and reference around inclusion we brought in a couple other partners of ours who do amazing work in the community, Canuck Autism Network (CAN) and the Intercultural Association. Last year due to COVID we had to shift our in person workshop to become virtual. This allowed us to expand our reach and then this year that reach went even further. The three Not for Profits created workshops about our approaches to inclusion, panel discussions, and scenarios for BC Parks, Parks Canada and BC Parks Foundation.  Additionally each organization was able to invite their staff, some key volunteers and participants to further build the network of ambassadors. We are thrilled to be see the ripple effect of these conversations, most recently with a new “Welcome Sign” showcased by BC Parks that speaks to inclusion.

These knowledge sharing sessions have also been created for our partners at Sea To Sky Gondola for their staff team in all different departments so they can collectively work towards access and inclusion as a team. As well we have piloted a new type of knowledge sharing by building literacy and skill sets for other organizations such as Foundry where they hope to start integrating more nature-based curriculum and access for the clients they serve in the different regions in BC.

Our efforts towards inclusion are multifaceted, from ensuring we run programs and services with an ability centered perspective, to working with partners to collectively make change, to continuing to develop our internal practice. We see inclusion as a responsibility that everyone should carry and replicate what nature has taught us, nature adapts all the time and we as humans can as well.